The “Kate Effect”
On Sunday 9 January, the royal family released three new official portraits of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. These weren’t just regular portraits, but they were released to mark her 40th birthday, and will go on display in three different locations. The first is going to be at the National Portrait Gallery, of which Kate is a patron; the second will hang in Berkshire, where she was born and spent her childhood; and a third, will go to Anglesey, where both Kate and William lived after they got married.
The photos were taken by Italian fashion photographer Paolo Roversi and were shot at Kew Gardens in London last November 2020.
The photos, taken by Italian fashion photographer Paolo Roversi, were captured in London’s Kew Gardens in November 2020. And, of course, there’s a deep meaning behind these 3 portraits, with the first one being that the Duchess has worn gowns designed by Alexander McQueen. This proves that she is still the queen of fashion for that brand, especially since her bridal dress designed by the same brand went viral. But, it also proves that she’s a champion for British fashion in general, too, as her outfit choices usually sell out within minutes, also known as the “Kate effect.”
Another interesting fact about these portraits is Kate’s choice of jewelry. For two of these portraits, she can be seen wearing pearl drop earrings that belonged to the late Princess Diana. So, by wearing these earrings, Kate shows that she will inherit Diana’s old title, but it also shows that she is making sure that a piece of Diana is moved into the future.
However, those are not the only earrings that she has worn in this shoot. In the portrait, where Kate’s seen wearing the red Alexander McQueen gown, she opted for earrings that come from the collection of Queen Elizabeth II. This shows that she not only respects the queen, but also the institution that she represents, since she will eventually become queen-consort, which is the highest ranking woman in the royal family.
Ode to the Past
The third and final portrait is an ode to the past. Around the 1940s and 1950s, Cecil Beaton, who was the court photographer, used to capture Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret not only in flowing gowns, but in a specific pose too. That’s the pose that Kate can be seen doing in the portrait, which is seated, serious and gazing off to the side. This is another sign that she is aligning herself with the royal women of the past, now that her position is becoming more vital in the institution.